The Cocatrice

Ξ January 1st, 2008 | → | ∇ Uncategorized |

   What is a large rooster with a lizard-like tail? Here are some clues. This creature is mentioned in one of my favorite Harry Potter books "The Goblet of Fire," a novel by J. K. Rowling, as one of the tasks of a previous "Triwizard Tournament.
   It is the villain of The Book of the Dun Cow, a novel by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
  It also is a heraldic symbol of 3 (Fighter) Squadron, a Fighter squadron of The Royal Air Force.
   It is popular figure in the fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons, Rune Scape and the Final Fantasy XII. It is also in the video game Final Fantasy VI.
   Did you guess right or do you Give up?
   This famous creature is a Cokatrice, born from an egg laid by a cock rooster and incubated by a toad or snake.
   Late in the twelfth century the cockatrice was described based on a hint in Pliny’s Natural History, as a duplicate of the basilisk, except the cockatrice has wings.
   It was believed it had magical abilities include turning people to stone or killing them by either looking at them, touching them, or even breathing on them. In the medieval bestiaries the weasel is the only animal that is immune to the glance of a cockatrice.
   Another legend was that a cockatrice would die instantly upon hearing a rooster crow, or if it sees itself in a mirror it will perish. It was also believed the cockatrice was able to fly with the set of wings affixed to its back. even in death the cockatrice’s powers of petrification were thought still effective.
   This rooster/dragon like creature also is mentioned several times in the Old Testament.
   In the King James Version of the Old Testament cockatrice is used several times, to translate Hebrew tziph’oni:
  • Isaiah 11:8 "And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den".
  • Isaiah 14:29 "Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent."
  • Isaiah 59:5 "They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper."
  • Jeremiah 8:17 "For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord."
   The village of Wherwell, near Andover in Hampshire, England has a story about the Cockatrice.
   It is said the Cockatrice terrorized the village until it was captured and locked in the dungeons below Wherwell Priory. A prize of land was offered to anyone who could kill the creature, non succeeded.
   Later a man named Green lowered a mirror into the dungeon and the Cockatrice battled its reflection until exhausted, and Green was able to kill it. For many years a weather vane in the shape of a Cockatrice adorned the church of St. Peter and Holy Cross in Wherwell until it was removed to Andover Museum.
   This rooster is one famous bird.indeed!


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